In February 2014, there were 277 million total LinkedIn users, with two new ones joining each second. That means that every minute, there are 120 potential customers, mentors, and connections creating new accounts. That also means there are now more than 277 million people who are trying to seem more impressive and experienced than you.
Here are a few ways to beef up your profile to attract partners and investors.
Before anyone can discover your extensive skill set or brilliant ideas, they have to discover you. Look at the title you have on your bio. Does it match the keywords you're using for your website's SEO strategy? If you're not familiar with SEO, are those the words that you would want to be found via Google search? If the answer is no, then it's time for a title change.
Labeling yourself as something generic like "entrepreneur" or "writer" means you're competing with every entrepreneur or writer out there. However, if you choose something more specific like "biographical ghostwriter" or "conversion software developer and entrepreneur," you're able to tell LinkedIn users more about yourself. Now they know that you don't write children's books and you aren't an entrepreneur trying to create a new toilet seat.
Let's get this over with: your LinkedIn profile is more than a resume. It shouldn't take up less than one sheet and shouldn't list out your experience in the third person. There is so much more you can do!
Start by adding links and projects in each section. This gives visitors the opportunity to click to your site and check out your work. They might not click on a plain URL, but they'll click on a cool product image. This is the section to exhibit the quality of your work and what skills differentiate you from the rest. More importantly, this is the section to lure in potential partners with your cohesive business plan.
LinkedIn users in neighboring industries that could potentially work with you can click on these to see what your customers look like and whether they could fit in with their business. This means when you both talk, there won't be as many introductory questions and you can cut to the brass tacks.
Whenever you comment on an influencer's article under Pulse, the article and your comment is posted to your timeline. This puts your name and your thoughts in front of all of your connections.
Potential investors and business partners want to see what working with you will be like, and LinkedIn is the modern-day business lunch. Instead of seeing whether you treat the waiter or waitress with respect instead of snapping your fingers and ordering them around, they see if your comments are constructive or rude. Instead of noticing that you chew with your mouth open, they notice whether you bother to check spelling and grammar. Watching your comments and posts is a quick way for people to decide whether they like you.
One of the fastest growing groups on LinkedIn is the Professional Women's Network, where you're free to connect with ladies across any industry, demographic, or audience. They also have major groups for entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as groups for niche industries like architects and land developers.
Now that your profile is ready to go, it's time to start connecting with people. Join the generic groups to start gaining your confidence, then start working your way into more specific subsets. If you're looking to find a partner outside of your comfortable niche, join the groups that specialize in a potential partner's skill sets.
Don't join these groups and expect to take over. Sit back and read some of the conversations, comment with your opinion, and ask questions. Then talk.
That's how LinkedIn works. As you start to get to know people in the group, they'll take notice of you, and maybe someone in that industry will be looking to partner with someone like you. This could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.
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